Durham Cathedral’s world-class exhibition experience, Open Treasure, launches a pioneering programme for Summer 2017. Discover some of England’s most important historical documents, artefacts and relics in the form of the Magna Carta and Forest Charters, as well as the incredible Treasures of St Cuthbert 15th May 2017.
Open Treasure takes visitors on a journey of discovery through the most intact medieval claustral buildings in the UK. Durham Cathedral is often referred to as the best example of Romanesque architecture in Europe, and according to the legendary American writer Bill Bryson ‘the best Cathedral on Planet Earth’, currently attracting over 750,000 visitors annually. This summer the multi-million pound exhibition experience will play host to an extraordinary exhibition programme displaying some of England’s most important historical documents, artefacts and relics, dramatically transforming the Cathedral’s visitor offer.
Magna Carta and the Forest Charters – Open from 19th June to 9th September 2017
The first exhibition of the Summer will showcase an original 1217 Forest Charter to celebrate the 800th anniversary of this companion to the Magna Carta. This significant historical document will go on display alongside the only surviving 1216 issue of the Magna Carta as well as two further issues of each from 1225 and 1300. With three clauses from the 1225 Magna Carta still in force today, the document remains a cornerstone of British democracy 800 years on. The exhibition marks the first occasion that these six 13th century documents will be displayed together.
The Treasures of St Cuthbert – Opens on 29th July 2017
The second exhibition will see Open Treasure enter a new phase at Durham Cathedral with a magnificent display of the permanent Treasures of St Cuthbert, including a rare collection of Anglo Saxon artefacts, with St Cuthbert’s beautifully preserved wooden coffin as the display centrepiece. Following his death in 687, St Cuthbert’s remains were discovered almost pristine 11 years later and preserved by the monks of Lindisfarne until 995 when they eventually arrived in Durham. Over 1,000 years on, St Cuthbert continues to play a unique role in North East England and the life of the Cathedral, with his Shrine remaining a place of global pilgrimage and worship. This permanent display will be housed in the recently restored Great Kitchen, one of only two surviving monastic kitchens in England.